Welcome to my first ever prospect ramblings. My actual name is the hockey famous Pat Quinn, seriously, writer of the monthly KHL updates, the Washington Capitals prospect updates, a Devils fan, and have good twitter takes.
Since this is my first time I do not have a structure (/ idea) of what to do, so I will give my random thoughts on a variety of players/topics/teams that have my interest currently. Anything you feel I should cover in the future, or better ways to go about these ramblings, let me know below.
In the words of Jackie Gleason: "And away we go!"
The 9-10-1 Mississauga Steelheads and Team Canada got a large boost last night as the New Jersey Devils sent (a healthy) Michael McLeod back to the OHL, where the team is 7-2-1 in the last 10 games. He will join his brother Ryan McLeod, who will be a first round pick in 2018, and Michael should just dominate once his knee is 100% as there is always a period to adjust once coming back from a knee injury.
That means Team Canada’s top three centres at my favorite tournament (WJC) will likely be Michael McLeod, Sam Steel (considering the season he had last season he is off to a slow start), and Robert Thomas. That could be a pretty deadly one-two-three punch.
I read this set up on twitter somewhere but I lost the link, so I am sorry I cannot take credit for this idea
The top three WHL scorers all play for the 13-4-1 Swift Current Broncos. From top to bottom they are Coyotes’ 2017 fifth round selection Tyler Steenbergen, Panthers’ 2017 second round pick Aleksi Heponiemi, and the oldest of the trio St. Louis’ 2015 fourth round pick Glenn Gawdin. Of the three I would give Heponiemi the one with the highest upside, but I am getting more and more intrigued by Steenbergen as the season progresses.
There are a few rookie defensemen producing well in the AHL so far this season, they are the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho, Buffalo’s Brendan Guhle, and Capitals prospect Lucas Johansen.
I’ll never get over the fact that it took three drafts for an NHL team to take a chance on the small Swedish defenseman, he is pure skill and vision but you know the old motto “can’t teach size”! All Aho is doing is leading AHL dmen in goals with six, three of those came in one game though, and all three prospects are currently tied with nine points. Well they were until Johansen scored tonight in the 4-2 Hershey victory, giving him 10 points. Thanks Lucas, now it doesn't flow.
In deeper leagues Aho should be added if you have room, I know in one of my keeper leagues I added him. Whereas the other two are likely owned and if not, get on it.
An underrated rookie (in pro years not age) producing at a good clip in the AHL for Lehigh Valley is Flyers college free agent signee Mike Vecchione who has 15 points in 16 games and is currently second in team scoring. Vecchione after four years in the NCAA is 24 so he is on the older side for a prospect. Russian rookie Mikhail Vorobyov, who this year crossed over to North America, has seven points in 16 games, and has just 18 shots in those games as he brings his playmaking skills over, also known as a player that just never shoots.
Vecchione is looking like a middle-six winger that can produce but to do that he has to crack a deep Flyers roster. Vorobyov will take more time to become NHL ready but has the skills to produce in a top six role.
Henrik Borgstrom (FLA) and Troy Terry (ANA – USA Jr Shootout star) are leading the NCAA in points per game, and are numbers two and three respectively in overall points scoring. Borgstrom just continues to impress since being drafted and should make an immediate impact once he makes the NHL. Terry is a longer wait but looks like another steal of a pick for Anaheim.
Side note: Anaheim is such an interesting team, they are one of (if not the best) drafting teams in the NHL, but make such baffling free agent and contract extension decisions it creates a dynamic that really makes no sense. They block rookies with older vets that aren’t that great anymore but are paid too much to move. For example they have Beauchemin signed this year and gave Bieksa a long-term deal, and as a result can’t get Jacob Larsson and Marcus Pettersson into the lineup (but they also have Fowler, Vatanen, Lindholm, and Manson). They had to give up Shea Theodore to get rid of the awful Clayton Stoner contract, and still had Brandon Montour waiting in the wings. Perhaps they just draft well to get rid of bad contracts in the end.
Shout out to Montreal Canadiens 2014 seventh round pick Jake Evans who is leading the NCAA with 19 points in 12 games for the University of Notre Dame.
So in my longest running keeper league my team is currently under-performing and I may have helped to ruin it as I tried to get younger assets while still staying competitive… so I am the Canucks of my league right now (except I have won before…. Jokes! Don’t send hate mail).
The league is a keep 13, H2H, starts three C’s, three LW’s, three RW’s, six dmen, two goalies, five reserve, and 20 prospects. I had finished second last year after winning the previous year with not great goaltending but an overload of scoring. I have routinely finished top five so in an attempt to get younger and more solid on the wings I have likely lost this year, but am set up well for the future (hopefully). I will go about some of my trades and feel free to evaluate in the comments, but the good news is I am still in competition in six other leagues I am in (two of those are keepers). Here is most of my off-season story:
To start I traded Bergeron for Burakovsky which I loved at the time as C is a crowded position and who did not think Burakovsky was going to break out this year. Right now it is a loss but Burakovsky is still a great long-term bet (I have watched him for years) that I can hold on to, he just needs to keep shooting and stay healthy.
This one I knew would be a loss but I am a homer for the Devils and who in all honestly has never made a trade to get one of their team’s players and paid a higher price than they should. So I traded Malkin for The first overall pick and Eriksson Ek (who I later traded off for Palmieri, thought I had too many Devils and traded Palmieri for Toffoli). With the pick I took Nico Hischer knowing full well he won’t be a player to match Malkin’s scoring (per game) but should still put up great numbers through full seasons.
After a few minor trades I moved Evgenii Dadonov (who I had been sitting on for a season with his contract expiring, and if you had read my KHL updates you would have read my reports on him likely coming over) for Filip Chytil and Henrik Borgstrom. I am a big fan of both of those players and was full on RW with Guentzel (Fantrax had him as a RW still), Zuccarello, Toffoli, and Niederreiter. So as of now this is a loss, and possibly a loss into he next couple seasons as well, but I love the long-term outlook for both Chytil and Borgstrom.
Once I decided I will have a tough time getting close to the top eight (top three get paid out), I put up the for sale sign. I am in a tough spot because if I make major moves I will be out longer than just this year and I feel I have a lot of good pieces that can help me next season and even later in to this season. The final trade I have done was moving out Colton Parayko for Jakob Chychrun and Sam Steel. We have a rookie limit of 120 games for skaters so Chychrun may slide under by the time next season starts but I am also fine to keep him, but I did this deal for the potential of Sam Steel and the realization that “hey yeah Pietrangelo does take up all of Parayko’s opportunity.” Basically Listen to Dobber and the other writers when they give recommendations on players to stay away from.
Alright I have probably written too much, hopefully you have enjoyed. Once I get the feel of these rambling I will provide better content so comments on what I should do or include would be greatly appreciated!
You can follow me on the twitter machine here –> @FHPQuinn